Reopening Our Writing Houses 2021 and Covid 19

July 2021 onwards (Open Courses)

The following questions outline our plans in response to COVID 19, in regard to reopening our writing houses for residential courses from July 2021 onwards. These measures will be reviewed regularly and will be adjusted in line with current government advice.

Capacity of the Houses
When we reopen for residential courses from July 2021 onwards, until further notice, we will be operating at a reduced capacity as follows:
● The Hurst will have a maximum of 13 writers, plus tutors.
● Lumb Bank will have a maximum of 11 writers, plus tutors.
● Totleigh Barton will have a maximum of 9 writers, plus tutors.
All the bedrooms are single occupancy.

Bathrooms
We are changing the way bathrooms are allocated at our houses, to ensure the facilities are not shared with multiple guests. The allocations vary at the houses, and are as follows:
● The Hurst is all en-suite bathrooms, with no shared bathroom facilities.
● Lumb Bank will have 1 en-suite private bathroom, and 10 writers will share bathrooms at the ratio of 1 bathroom to 2 writers.
● Totleigh Barton has 1 en-suite accessible bedroom, and 8 writers will share bathrooms at the ratio of 1 bathroom to 2 writers.

Cleaning protocols for shared bathrooms will be explained on arrival.

Catering Arrangements
Cooking and eating together is an essential part of an Arvon week and we will be returning to our traditional catering arrangements when we reopen.
You will help yourself to breakfast in the shared kitchen. Lunch will be prepared by Arvon staff, who will also cook an evening meal for the group on the Monday night.

You will cook one evening meal with a small group of fellow writers, and you will also be responsible for some clearing up after meals. We have invested in commercial dishwashers in each of our houses to increase hygiene standards.
These duties are confined to a few hours in total, so the rest of the week is left free for writing. Please do not be nervous about cooking for the group. You will cook in a small team and receive lots of support from house staff.

You will be asked to wear a mask while using the shared kitchen and preparing food.

COVID Precautions
We will closely monitor government guidelines and adjust our arrangements if necessary, as advice changes.
Following the current government roadmap out of lockdown, we plan to have the following precautionary measures in place, to protect writers and staff when we reopen in mid-July:

● We will be operating with reduced numbers to allow for increased personal space.
● Bathrooms will be allocated and shared with a maximum of one other guest.
● The houses will be thoroughly ventilated.
● We will be making more use of our outdoor spaces whenever possible, as the weather allows. Each house will have a gazebo or similar for use as appropriate.
● We will ask you to continue to observe a high level of hand hygiene, with handwashing facilities and gels at each building entry point.
● We will be carrying out increased surface cleaning in the communal spaces.
● We may operate with maximum room capacities in communal spaces or one-way systems in place within our buildings.
● You will be required to take a lateral flow test prior to arrival and on Wednesday.
● Our staff will be carrying out lateral flow tests on a twice weekly basis.

Vaccines and Test Results
We have no plans to ask writers to prove their vaccine status.

Within 36 hours of arrival you must receive a negative Lateral Flow test result and provide this information to Arvon via email. You will also be required to undertake a Lateral Flow Test mid-week during your stay. It is your responsibility to bring a Lateral Flow test for testing mid-week. Arvon will have a limited number of spare tests if needed.

If you do not provide us with evidence of a negative test result we will not be able to allow you to take part in the course.

We will review this if there are any changes to the test and trace system, or relevant legislation, in the future.

What to do if you develop symptoms prior to arrival
If you have developed any symptoms of Covid 19 during the 14 days prior to your arrival, you must have a negative PCR test before travelling to Arvon.

  • The most common symptoms are (most people with symptoms have at least one of these):
    a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

If there is not enough time to undertake a PCR test and receive your results, you must contact us to cancel or postpone your visit. In such cases you will be entitled to a full refund of any fees which you have paid.

If you develop symptoms while staying with us

• If you develop any symptoms of Covid-19 during your stay you should immediately visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and request a test.

• You will then be asked to call the house director on an emergency number. You will have been told in the welcome talk who is on call for which days.

• If you are well enough to do so and can travel safely in your own car, you must vacate the writing house immediately.

• You will be offered a pro rata refund.

• You must follow Government guidelines regarding self-isolation.

• You must inform Arvon of the result of your test on one of the numbers above as soon as you have received it.

• If you are not well enough to travel (or cannot do so safely), you must self-isolate and ask for the test to be sent to you via the website. During this time Arvon staff will bring you food but you must not leave your bedroom/bathroom.

• If there are any additional costs to Arvon due to an extended stay you will need to cover this.

• If you are not well enough to travel and your test is negative, you may stay at Lumb Bank until the end of your booking.

• If another writer at Lumb Bank tests positive for Covid-19 during their stay we reserve the right to ask you to leave immediately and to follow Government guidelines with regard to self-isolation. In this instance we will offer you a pro rata refund.

• Please note that we are not, under any circumstances, able to reimburse travel or other costs which you may have incurred in connection with your booking, and in the event of cancellation by you or by us, our liability to you will be limited to fees you have paid to Arvon.

• If you test positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of your stay at Arvon, we ask that you inform us ASAP using the number we provide you with in the welcome talk.